Tenancy deposit protection time limits for compliance

A landlord or agent must protect a deposit paid by an assured shorthold tenant and provide the prescribed information within the statutory time limit.

This content applies to England

Restrictions, sanctions and time limits

A landlord or agent who fails to comply within the relevant time limit is liable to financial sanctions and restrictions on the use of a section 21 notice to end the tenancy.

There are set time limits within which a landlord should comply with the requirements of the tenancy deposit scheme. These depend on when the tenancy deposit was received by the landlord.

Deposits received on or after 6 April 2012

For a deposit received on or after 6 April 2012, the landlord/agent must protect the deposit and serve the prescribed information within 30 days of receiving the deposit.[1]

If the landlord or agent do not do so, the:

Deposits received between 6 April 2007 and 5 April 2012

Before 6 April 2012 the time limit for compliance with the tenancy deposit protection rules was 14 days.

The landlord or agent who received a deposit between 6 April 2007 and 5 April 2012 had 14 days to protect the deposit and serve the prescribed information.[2] There were no sanctions for late compliance as long as the deposit was protected and prescribed information was served before the court hearing, even if this was after the 14-day time limit.[3]

From 6 April 2012, the time limit for compliance was extended to 30 days.[4]

Landlords or agents of assured shorthold tenancies in existence on 6 April 2012 had until 6 May 2012 to comply with the tenancy deposit protection obligations, unless they had done so already.[5]

In order to serve a valid section 21 notice on a tenancy where a deposit was received between 6 April 2007 and 5 April 2012 the landlord must have either:

  • protected the deposit before 6 May 2012

  • returned the deposit to the tenant before serving a section 21 notice

If the landlord failed to comply, the tenant could also make a section 214 claim for a sum of between one and three times the value of the deposit. Deposit compensation claims are subject to the Limitations Act 1980 and time limit for taking action is 6 years from when the breach occurred.

Deposit received before 6 April 2007

Even though the law governing the protection of tenancy deposits came into effect on 6 April 2007, most assured shorthold tenancies that commenced before this date are affected by the legislation.

Statutory periodic tenancy arose on or after 6 April 2007

Where a deposit was paid in respect of a fixed-term tenancy before 6 April 2007, and the tenancy became a statutory periodic tenancy on or after that date, then unless the deposit had been returned or the tenancy had ended, the landlord/agent had to protect the deposit and serve the prescribed information by 23 June 2015.[6]

If the deposit was not protected and/or the prescribed information not served, the:

  • tenant can make a section 214 claim for a sum of between one and three times the value of the deposit

  • landlord is prevented from serving a section 21 notice in most circumstances

Statutory periodic tenancy arose before 6 April 2007

Where a deposit was paid in respect of a fixed-term tenancy that became a statutory periodic tenancy before 6 April 2007, and has never been renewed since, the landlord or agent is not liable to a Section 214 claim if they failed to protect the deposit or serve the prescribed information.

However, in most circumstances, the landlord or their agent cannot  use a section 21 notice to end the tenancy.[7]

It is not clear whether a failure to serve the prescribed information would invalidate a section 21 notice in this scenario.

Last updated: 17 March 2021

Footnotes

  • [1]

    s.215(1), s.215(1A) and s.215(2) Housing Act 2004, as inserted by s.32 Deregulation Act 2015.

  • [2]

    s.213(3) Housing Act 2004, before introduction of amendment.

  • [3]

    Vision Enterprises LTD v Tiensia [2010] EWCA Civ 1224.

  • [4]

    s.184(2) Localism Act 2011.

  • [5]

    art 16, Localism Act 2011 (Commencement No. 4 and Transitional, Transitory and Saving Provisions) Order 2012 SI 2012/628.

  • [6]

    s.215A Housing Act 2004, as inserted by s.32 Deregulation Act 2015.

  • [7]

    s.215(1) Housing Act 2004.